tpp

Ryan, McConnell Find Little 'Common Ground' at White House

Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walk to the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Nov. 3. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama's private meetings with congressional Republican leaders appeared to do very little to  break the legislative impasse that largely has defined his tenure.  

Descriptions of the meeting from both ends of Pennsylvania Ave. were clinical at best. Notably missing were usual Washington declarations that a high-level meeting was “productive” or “constructive.” Asked about that omission, an aide to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., called the speaker’s time on Tuesday with Obama “cordial.”

Was There Ever an Obama-Ryan Honeymoon?

Ryan greets Obama as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address while Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. looks on. It was one of Ryan's few smiles of the evening. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama repeatedly had to raise his voice to be heard over cheering Democratic lawmakers during his State of the Union address on Jan. 12. But Speaker Paul D. Ryan sat motionless, his face frozen in a polite — but unimpressed — expression.  

Obama used part of his likely final address to a joint session of Congress to extol policy whims long pushed by Democrats like pre-kindergarten “for all” children and a government-led effort to “to make college affordable for every American.” He also called it a “basic fact” that the U.S. “has the strongest, most durable economy in the world,” saying the country is “in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history.”  

Praise, Criticism for GOP as Obama Wraps 2015

Obama delivered a downright upbeat 2015 legislative victory lap and 2016 pep talk before leaving the White House. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

During his year-end news conference, President Barack Obama took the kinds of partisan shots that for years have so frustrated congressional Republicans. But he also flashed the pragmatic streak that helped him notch several legislative victories in 2015.  

On one hand, Obama praised Republicans for crafting several high-profile bills that met his muster. But on the other, he clubbed the GOP for bucking the rest of the world for its rejection of the very concept of climate change. The president and Capitol Hill Republicans have had a rocky relationship since even before he took office in January 2009, and the bad blood has made Washington a symbol of legislative dysfunction ever since. But the ill will seemed to dissipate a bit this year, as he signed into law sweeping bills on education, highways, the Export-Import Bank, and a massive spending bill that raises defense and domestic budget caps and also averts a government shutdown.  

Obama Deflects Comment on Clinton, Biden

Clinton has come out against the TPP, Obama's signature trade deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama appeared irritated Friday when he was asked about Hillary Rodham Clinton's opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership — declining to comment on her flip-flop on an agreement she praised as his secretary of State.  

"With respect to the trade and how Hillary views trade, I would have you direct questions to her," Obama said at a joint press conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye   in the East Room of the White House. "I mean, here is a general proposition, guys. During the course of what will be a long campaign, I probably won't be commenting on every single utterance or decision that the various candidates make, because I think that it is natural and proper for candidates to run on their own vision and their own platform," he said. During Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, Clinton said regarding the deal, "I did say, when I was secretary of State, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was just finally negotiated last week, and in looking at it, it didn't meet my standards. ... And I want to make sure that I can look into the eyes of any middle-class American and say, 'This will help raise your wages.' And I concluded I could not."  

Hillary Clinton Opposes TPP 'as of Today' (Video) (Updated)

Hillary Clinton said she's not in favor of the TPP, based on what she knows today. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:31 p.m. | In a major break with President Barack Obama and her own past record, Hillary Rodham Clinton said she doesn't support the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.  

"What I know about it, as of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it," Clinton told PBS NewsHour's Judy Woodruff Wednesday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jeh-14A8Rbc&feature=youtu.be